Sub-letting a Residential Property (Vic)
In Victoria, it is common for the tenant in a residential property to seek to assign or sublet the property to another person. This may be because they want to leave the property before the end of the lease, because they want to rent out one or more rooms, or because they want to go away on holiday for an extended period. In Victoria, written permission from the landlord or property manager is required to assign or sublet a property. This page deals with assigning or sub-letting a residential property in Victoria.
In Victoria, residential tenancies are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Disputes about residential tenancies can be arbitrated by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Assigning vs sub-letting
A person assigns a lease when they transfer their interest in the leased premises to another party. The new tenant then takes on all the rights and responsibilities of the original tenant under the lease.
A person (the head tenant) sublets under a lease when they rent all or part of the property to another person (the sub-tenant), while the lease remains in the head tenant’s name.
The head tenant remains responsible to the lessor for the property. The sub-tenant is responsible to the head-tenant.
Sub-letting requires permission
Under section 81 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, a renter must not assign or sub-let rented premises without the rental provider’s written consent. However, a lessor must not unreasonably refuse to give consent.
Lessor must not discriminate
A lessor must not withhold consent on the basis of an attribute under section 6 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. That provision prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, disability, profession or religious belief, among other attributes.
Where permission to sub-let is not given
If a lessor does not consent to a property being sub-let and the tenant believes that they are unreasonably withholding consent, they may apply to VCAT for a determination that the lessor’s consent is not required. If the tribunal determines that consent is not required, the sub-letting may go ahead without the lessor’s consent.
When lessor may refuse permission
Under section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, a lessor may refuse to give permission to sub-let if the premises are public housing and subletting would disadvantage those on the public housing waiting list.
Lessor may not charge fee for permission to sub-let
Under section 84 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, a lessor must not charge a fee for giving consent to the sub-letting of a property. Doing so is an offence punishable by a fine of 60 penalty units.
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